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Gurdwara Managment - Its all wrong

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Lionchild, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Lionchild

    Lionchild
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    Gurdwara Managment: It's all wrong!
    By Khalsa Starr
    Part I

    Today i am a little angry, actually really angry... ok, i'll calm down :roll:

    However i am very dissapointed by our so called leader here in Vernon BC. Why? First of all, when we agreed to meet up at my place to drop a package, he never showed up! I was ok about it, however, he should have at least said that he would not be able attend, then leaving me in the dark. This happened, three times, so i walked up to his house and got the package.

    While i was there, i learned that the president and his family are usually gone for most of the summer, i got concerned - isn't our president supposed to be here to manage us?

    It turns out, that our leader is very easy going when it comes to manageing the temple, he is also not a good example to anyone. This is what i found out by experience:

    - There're are signs that say "no shoes or uncovered hair in temple" but he walks around (and his advisors) witht shoes on and sometimes no headcover!
    - During a recent wedding, many of the guests are not following the basic gurdwara rules, nor is the pres, not even enforcing the rules!
    - He and his family are out for most of the summer, tell me, how are you supposed to manage a temple if your're out that long?

    Of course it wouldn't be fair for this observation to be one sided, what is he doing to be a sikh?:

    - He wears his kara

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    Now, what can be done? I will cover this issue in depth tommorow. What will be covered? The overall trends and management culture that is in most of our groups and temple politics.

    Now I have a favor to ask of you. I would like for you (users and mods) to tell us your observations and experiences you have with temple politics/management and dealing with other groups.

    Thank you SPN.

    -Khalsa Starr
     
    #1 Lionchild, Jul 26, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2005
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  3. truthseeker

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    Re: Gurdwara Managment: It's all wrong!

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh!!

    Well here in Ottawa... the president of the Gurdwara seems to be a cool guys, but he was just elected soo i cant really say to much about him. But as for our current Bhai... he and his family live in the Gurdwara... their house is attached to the Gurdwara. anyways.. He is quiet snobish, and walks around like he owns the place which makes me very upset. His wife.. next does any seva within the Gurdwara...she just orders everyone around and sits on her little chair. Also every last friday of the month.. we have a small kirtan for the younger kids soo usually there are alot of sevadaars to cook langar... i think it was last month, not many ppl where there because it was a long weekend..and soo many people had gone away and many parents had just dropped there children and left. So she had decided that she was going to be lazy, as usual, and not cook langar for the sangat that had taken the initiative to come. Soo after the prgram was over it was about maybe 9 oclock.. and everyone especially the younger ones were hungry but there was no food to eat. soo my mother.. and 1 other aunty.. had to quickly cook some food for the children. This incidend made me very upset.... first of all she live in the Gurdwara.. receives money each month, and she cant even cook a simple meal for young children who want to learn. What is she showing the younger children?? thats its ok to live in the Gurdwara and receive everything fro free but not serve our Guru and do his Seva????? This is not right..and everyone asks "why the younger generations dont wanna go to gurdwara or learn about Sikhi"
    This is just my experience...im definalty not trying to say anything against the Gurdwara.. but who thought that our own Bhai.. would be soo full of ego?

    Bhull Chuk Maaf
    Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh!!!
     
  4. NamHariKaur

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    Sat Nam Khalsa_Starr Ji;

    I am very disheartened by what you have reported. It would seem to be very discouraging especially to one who has found great inspiration from Sikhi then goes to Gurdwara and sees such disrespectful behavior.

    During the 14 months that I have been going to Gurdwara an average of three times a week I have not seen a single individual at any time walk around with shoes on or enter the Guru's room without a head covering - except the time that I forgot my head covering when I was late one day. I was politely reminded by the person seated next to me and I blushingly exitted and found a kerchief.

    I was impressed with the respectful behaviors of those present the very first day I went to the Gurdwara here. Snatam Kaur invited me to enter the Guru's room to hear a Hukham and tied a kerchief over my hair for me with a smile.

    Everyone here always bows and puts their head to the floor upon entering the Guru's room. I have not seen any exception to this. I will admit that on my first visit, it seemed odd to me to bow this way to that little "altar." At the time I knew nothing about the Guru - the Siri Guru Granth Sahib - or that it is the Living Guru - nor that we can change our destiny by putting our foreheads to the ground before the Guru - putting our heads to the dust of the feet of saintly people that have come before us.

    While these aspects of this community impress me greatly, please be assured that there are things here that I am concerned about. These have more to do with person-to-person interactions and other manifestations of 3HO Sikh lifestyles. I hope to discuss some of these things in the new SPN division about "Changes" or "Sikhs for Change" coming soon, if the atmosphere seems conducive for a productive discussion. (See Khalsa_Starr's posts, July, June, 2005).

    Along the lines of the posts I am replying to, I will say this. I wrote an open letter to our community and emailed directly to our executive officer (I do not know his title) and posted it on the web. In this document I expressed concerns and made many suggestions. It took 5 months before my letter was discussed in the community council meeting. By that time I had refined some of the suggestions myself and done some of what I could do to make a difference.

    My feeling was that the link to my document could have been shared right away and people could have begun to give some thought to the concerns and suggestions immediately without any meetings. Some of my suggestions could have been implemented by community members without any meetings. When my best friend in the community spoke to the director at the end of one of the meetings before they put my letter on the agenda she was told "People just do not have time for these things."

    When I get my web-hosting account paid up - soon - I will share the link to the document(s) that I am talking about, so that those of you curious about it might take a look at it/them.

    Wahe Guru!
    Nam Hari Kaur, Eugene, Oregon
     
    #3 NamHariKaur, Jul 26, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2005
  5. Arvind

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    I find this a sensitive topic, where personal life, voluntary service life and professional life need to make a fine balance.

    All human have their own life, and whatelse they do for Gurudwara, in terms of management, is voluntary. But yes, if someone is not able to do voluntary job within satisfactory limits, they must tell back, so that other capable person could take the job.

    Management is seen as an example by other persons. They are expected to lead by following the code/rehat themselves. The example cited by Khalsa_Starr are certainly not healthy ones. If management doesnt reinforce the basic code, who else is going to care about? and what learning a newcomer gets from there... all confusion, I guess.

    In this situation, I suggest interested ppl to take up voluntary jobs in their local gurudwaras. That would give you internal satisfaction, and lesser scope to blame the existing management. Feel responsible.
     
  6. Lionchild

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    So true, most of the people that attend the gurdwara are also like this, the state of this temple and its community is not good. The attendance is also poor, on some says i am the only one who is in the temple. There are a few regular attendees, but all the do is play hockey and basketball in the temple parking lot.

    I was also confused when i first entered the temple for the first time, it makes me wonder why ppl like him are in power.

    NamHariKaur... Where is your temple located? It sounds like your area is better than mine? How mant Amritdhari?
    When i read that the director said "People just do not have time for these things." I :shock: in shock.

    truthseeker... How amny directors are also "helping" this leader? It sounds as if the children are victims of a lazy managemnt :mad: .
     
  7. truthseeker

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    Khalsa starr Ji,

    What u have said is correct... the children are victims of a lazy manaement team. Once every 2 years the gurdwara has it little elections and what not... and soo they are always changing and for as long as i can remember we havent been able to have a president that would actually work with the sangat to help make the programs more "accessable" for the younger children. As well the Bhai and his wife... seem have pick favourites i guess. In front of the Admin they seem to be soo nice and kind but as soon as the Admin leaves... they totally change there story. Like i said in my first post about the Youth Kirtan Night. It was mostly only youth there and not many adults, so of course they would not make an effort look good in front of us.. because what can u we to them??? not very much. I think i Gurdwara just needs a few good Gursikhs to lead the rest of them on the right path, so that the children who want to learn dont loose interest and hopefully the ones that have lost interest may just come bak.

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji fateH!!!
     
  8. NamHariKaur

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    Sat Nam.

    Arvind Ji;
    Your suggestions espouse the best Sikh values - to volunteer oneself so as to improve those situations that are needing more good energy. I highlighted the parts of your post that deliver this message.

    When I began going to our Gurdwara, it took me about two or three months of feeling like an unhappy orphan of the community before I realized that I could contribute something myself instead of pouting about it.

    I began to greet new people and welcome them and to ask them if there is anything that they need. I did these particular things because those were the things most lacking when I firtst came and resulted in the most frustration for me. Some friend outside of Sikhi had told me of Ghandi's great quote:
    "Be the change you want to see in the World" and I saw the merits in that immediately.

    Sometimes we can be blinded by our own dissatisfactions and not see there might be something we can do ourselves to improve the situation at least for others if not for ourselves. One might even see one's own suffering as the source of learning this lesson.

    Thank you for reminding all of us, Arvind, of another aspect of living life with the True Sikh Spirit!

    P.S. Great avatar/photo! It is nice to see who people are. :)

     
    #7 NamHariKaur, Jul 27, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2005
  9. NamHariKaur

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    Sat Nam Khalsa_Starr Ji;

    I live in Eugene, Oregon.
    OUR COMMUNITY
    has maybe 80 members maybe less, and perhaps 30 or so of these are of Indian heritage.
    The community events and Gurdwara's are managed primarily by caucasion Sikhs who came to Sikhi through Kundalini Yoga and the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. Often the Indian Sikhs will take the Hukham or read the translations aloud afterwards. They also contribute a great deal to Sunday Langar here. I call those that came to Sikhi through yoga and Yogi Bhajan "3HO" Sikhs - for want of a better label to identify this group. Many of the 3HO Sikhs are Amritdhari. I myself did not come to Sikhi through those channels of Kundalini Yoga or 3HO camps or events, nor have I attended any of their Solstice events or camps. It was the sound current that snagged me and dragged me to this Gurdwara - hearing Gurbani chanting. I will tell much of my story one of these days in some detail in the "Introductions" section or in my profile. On Sundays I tend to sit with the Indian women more than with the caucasion 3HO women, partly because they greet me lovingly with a smile and a prayerful nod and I find them to be very beautiful.


    SOME HISTORY:
    Basically many people became (3HO) Sikhs in the decade of their 20s in the early 70's and are now in my age range 50-60. Their children are the 2nd generation 3HO Sikhs - born into Sikh families. The oldest of those is about 35. Many of these children go to the Miri-Piri Academy in India from one to many years. This 2nd generation has some very devout Sikhs who live a full Sikh lifestyle. Several of those that I have a lot of respect for here are 2nd generation Sikhs.

    3HO Sikhs are extremely committed to their children.
    I often cry in Gurdwara when I watch how lovingly the children are reminded to not make too much noise and such things.

    In saying this I am not comparing them to other Sikhs - as I have no familiarity with other Sikh families. I can only compare them to what I have seen over the years in typical American families, where I see all kinds of harshness and abusive treatment and even spirituality often taught in a punitive way.


    Also many in this community have taken Minister's vows. (Those vows are in the "Victory and Virtue" book that is completely online at www.{url not allowed}). I can give a link directly to those vows if someone wishes me to look it up.


    ISSUES:
    Arvind made an excellent point that what people contribute to the community is all voluntary. I know that our director has two children and two jobs in addition to heading up the organizational aspects here.
    He himself of course has very little extra time - if any.
    Most of the community members work full time and have families too. So I have a sense of what the director meant about people here not having time for taking on new causes or programs for newcomers. The other fact is that there are not many newcomers here for them to be be concerned with. In my 14 months here the only others to begin attending here have been Sikhs moving here from elsewhere. I had not realized the degree to which my own situation was unusual, having arrived here by the Will of the Guru instead of through Kundalini Yoga experiences.

    I have not seen any of our yoga students take up regular Sadhana or coming to Sunday Gurdwara or attending other community events. We proabably have over 40 regular attendees of Kundalini yoga classes and maybe that many more who come intermittantly. The classes are taught in a large room adjacent to the Guru's room. I wonder how many of those people taking Kundalini Yoga classes here have curiousity and questions about Sikhism that they never ask because their just isn't any real forum for them to learn anything or to ask questions. (Most of the classes here are not taught by Sikhs for one thing). Kundalini yoga and the mantra meditations done in classes can very often bring up very strong experiences of spirituality. I am still thinking about surveying the yoga students about their needs and questions to see if there are some that might be wanting something more.



    Because the factory that makes Yogi Tea and Breakfast Cereals is here in Eugene, Yogi Bhajan had spent a lot of time here. Many of those here were personal attendants and bodyguards of his. So the loyalty to Yogi Bhajan is very strong here. Thus far I have not spoken of my concerns about his teaching style or my concerns about how people may have mis-interpreted some of what he was trying to teach them. (I base my perspective about this on other Sikh and Eastern writings). So far I have kept quiet. I am still new and have been observing and studying what goes on. If the time ever does present itself for me to present my views in a way that might be helpful to others in my community or the greater 3HO community at large - even through web forums or something, I will certainly do so.

    More on my concerns and issues soon in the "Sikhs for Change" section of SPN - if that becomes the name of the new section here.

    So there are many great things about this community, without question. One does not see any drinking or smoking or hair cutting among our 3HO Sikhs. In many ways their commitment to a Sikh lifestyle is very strong. At Sunday Gurdwara, the spirit of the community is very strong and the only distractions are the beautiful 3rd generation young children who cannot sit still for long and love to move about. I am not bothered by the children though, they are so lovely to watch.

    LANGUAGE NON-ISSUE:
    As each new Kirtan performer(?) begins they hand out Shabad sheets that give Gurbani, tranliteration and English versions. The chanting is nearly always done in Gurbani, which is fine with me. As I have posted elsewhere, Gurbani moves me deeply and is transformative. The English sometimes gives me some good things to reflect on also, but the Gurbani Kirtan is what does the most inside me - beyond the realm of my mind and my thoughts. So language is a non-issue here except that no one is teaching how to read Gurmukhi. I have learned it on my own and am still in need of some improvements with pronunciation of some sounds that are not produced when speaking English.

    ATTENDANCE:
    Surprisingly, in spite of how many people here live a Sikh lifestyle, most of the year very few come to daily morning Sadhana, and often those who do leave without listening to the Hukham. The exception is from Baisakhi day until Summer Solstice during which time many do a 40-day Sadhana. We had about 15 people do that this year. During summer now, often I am the only one there or one or two others come for Sadhana and the Hukham. For the last month my own attendance has been sparse, for a variety of reasons including a cold and allergies, though I will begin going nearly every day again soon.

    Wahe Guru
    Nam Hari Kaur, Eugene Oregon
     
  10. Lionchild

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    Edit: part II will be available later, once i do more research into this issue.
     
  11. Lionchild

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    Interesting, you are indeed in a better place.

    Over here, cutting hair is the norm, drinking and smoking is in the community, and the managemnt is far from ideal.

    i'm getting envious. :hmm:
     
  12. Arvind

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    I believe Nam Hari ji is in the company of blessed souls... as I hold high regards for Snatam Kaur ji... one of my favourite sikhs to look upto. Such company and guidance is surely due to good karma.

    Waheguru.
     
  13. NamHariKaur

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    Sat Nam Arvind Ji:
    Oh! Arvind Bless you!

    I just now came home from a massage and saw your posting. During my massage I had found myself crying so much because I realized how much I have been missing the dear little Snatam Ji. She has been on tour so much that we no longer have the weekly experience of her Kirtan and Gurbani Hukham. It has been perhaps six weeks since she led Kirtan during morning Sadhana. A year ago she would do this twice a week and I was always there to experience it. When she would chant a Hukham in Gurbani my spine felt like a keyboard that she was playing - so much energy moving up and down my body and my entire being vibrating - Ang Sang Wahe Guru! (feeling God in every cell and fiber of my being).

    She has recently become engaged to Sopurkh Singh and it is likely that she will move to Espanola, New Mexico - which will be a great loss to us. But perhaps not, as she likes Eugene.

    Others have told me that I must have earned in past lives what has been coming to me this past year. The other side of this is that it took me 55 years in this life to get my channels opened and ready to have these experiences. And while I was not working particularly hard with spirituality I was working through very difficult childhood issues for so many years - 11 years of therapy.


    Now, since "being found" by the Guru I have felt as though my life now is a walk along a rose-petal strewn path. Notice that I do not say that I found the Guru but that the Guru reached out to me, because that was my experience of it. I was not "looking" or seeking though I was aware that I had developed a longing for greater spirituality in recent years. Still I had really done nothing to bring it into my life, yet come it did.
    I do indeed feel very very Blessed - Blessed to have heard Snatam Kaur's chanting; Blessed to find myself living in the same town with her; Blessed to hve been given the spiritual courage to surrender my life to the Guru; Blessed to have Snatam's occasional guidance and Blessed to have earned her respect.
    Nanak Nadaree Karamee Daat!

    When ever someone says something like what you posted Arvind Ji, gratitude wells up through me like a fountain. May Guru Ji's Blessings shower upon you!

    Nam Hari Kaur, Eugene, Oregon
     
  14. Lionchild

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    This thread can be moved to the Sikhs For Change group.

    Anyways, i am doing research into these issues - some of the stories and news articles are really socking!

    What would Guru Nanak Think of todays temples?
     
  15. truthseeker

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    Im not too sure if that was a ritorical question or not Khalsa starr ji.. but if it wasnt... then im pretty sure that Guru Ji would be pretty upset at how 1. many of the youth have lost interest
    2. The leaders of the Gurdwaras.. or not really doing their jobs, of being good role modles
    3. How the Gurdwara has become more of a meeting place.. than a place of prayer


    the list goes on and on.... this is totally off-topic to the subject of this thread.. but i felt that it is something that we( as Sikhs) need to realize... and fix hopefully sooner than later.


    Bhull chuk Maaf.
    waheguru ji ka khalsa wahguru ji ki fateh!!!
     
  16. Lionchild

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    It was jsut a short thought, since he is the founder og sikhi... just wondered.

    edit: already done!
     

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